Seven degrees of separation for new Master CPAs

It all adds up: Internships, networking and a sharp focus on advanced techniques have made Adelphi's accounting master's degree program a quick success.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Adelphi University has added up its first class of master accountants.

The Garden City-based university has graduated the first students to complete its Master’s Degree in Professional Accounting program, designed to be a passport to today’s rapidly globalizing economy.

The graduate-degree program – which includes hands-on professional experience and career networking and covers various principles included in Master CPA exams – totals 30 credits. A total of 150 credits is required for CPA licensure in New York State.

The program can be completed in one year by a full-time student with the required background education, or two to three years by part-time students and those who are new to accounting, changing careers or otherwise starting from scratch.

The first class of graduates is small; only seven master’s degrees were conferred. But that was by design, according Adelphi, which noted a “select” admissions process that allowed educators to more easily fine-tune the program on the fly.

Britt’ny Brown: Slow and steady growth.

Each of the master’s candidates was enrolled in a yearlong, professional CPA review course led by Becker Professional Education, a national educational resource for accounting, finance, project management and healthcare professionals. And most of the master’s students completed at least one internship – some completed two – to maximize their exposure and employment potential.

The results: a 100 percent employment rate, including four graduates hired by Big Four firms, and a 90-percent pass rate (so far) on the myriad licensure exams already taken by the new graduates, easily besting national averages in the 50-percent range.

Rajib Sanyal, dean of Adelphi’s Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, said the magnificent seven have been “well-trained,” and that the first graduating class solidifies the burgeoning master program’s stature.

“They are the sort of students that any accounting services employer would snap up,” Sanyal added.

The Willumstad School is currently reviewing Master’s Degree in Professional Accounting applications for the coming school year. While the school plans to admit slightly larger cohorts each year – “We are obviously looking to grow the program,” noted Willumstad Director of Graduate Programs Britt’ny Brown – the plan for now is to keep the program relatively small.

“It was always envisioned as a small program so there would be that special, close relationship between professors and students,” Brown said. “I think that really contributed to the success of the first year.

“What I hear a lot of times is, ‘What’s the job outlook like?’” the director added. “This kind of placement is really appealing to students.”